US-made documentary on Turkish Jews on way
A group of television producers from the United States will bring to the screen the lives of Jews who were welcomed by the Ottoman Empire following their expulsion from Spain in the 14th century.
Upon the invitation by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, a team of the Jewish Life broadcast station visited the northwestern province of Edirne, which was once the capital of the Ottoman Empire for 92 years, after Istanbul for the shootings.
After starting shooting at the Selimiye Mosque and then at the Great Synagogue, the team of five television producers later interviewed Jewish families living in the historic city.
Finally, the team shot at the Bayezid Complex Health Museum, built by the sultan of the time, Bayezid II, who led the Jews expelled from Spain to the Ottoman lands.
Program producer Brad Pomerance said it was inspiring to be in Edirne.
“It is wonderful to be in one of the minarets of this mosque, where 40,000 people worked in the construction in the 1570s. I am an American Jew, and I am visiting one of the largest structures in Islam. It’s a great honor and gift,” he said.
Pomerance stated that Turkey was the center of three major monotheistic religions in the past, indicating how tolerant the country is, welcoming people of all faiths.
The expulsion of the Jews from Spain was ordered in 1492 by Catholic monarchs ruling Castile and Aragon through the Edict of Granada to drive Jews out of their territories.
Many Jews also settled in Edirne, Istanbul’s Galata neighborhood and the Aegean city of İzmir with the order of Sultan Bayezid II.
According to the Turkish Jewish community, Turkey has around 18,000 Jews, and their population is concentrated in Istanbul, İzmir and Edirne.
The community had a higher population, but numbers dwindled in the 20th century as most migrated to Israel after its establishment.